I’m not the type of person who often remembers their dreams. However, I do remember a few. One of them was from when I was a teenager or something. Probably after watching The Blob or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I had this dream where I was trapped in a dank sewer trudging through the sludgy sewage while Charon floated in his boat behind me and whacked me with his oars. Listening to Empress/Abscess by Immortal Bird reminds me of that dream. It’s dark, sludgy, and smacks you around. Elements of black metal and thrash round out this roughly 30 minute romp. The artwork is pretty rad too.
Check it out, share with you buddies, toss some couch change at the band, and let us know what you thunk. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
In my free time when I’m not attached to some video game or repeatedly listening to whatever album I’m currently hot on I like to scour through Bandcamp and Metal State’s Haulix promo pile (for those who don’t know, Haulix is a commonly used streaming/downloading platform for giving reviewers access to promo albums) and see if anything catches my ear. With literally hundreds of records to choose from at any given moment I don’t have the time nor the will to listen to everything. So, what do I do to narrow down my selections? Well, first there are certain P.R. reps we have a good rapport with as well as the very rare, well written review request (for another article, but, independent bands, proofread your shit, keep it short, and use Bandcamp or some other super easy streaming service). Otherwise, I break a Golden Rule. I judge a book, errr, album by its cover.
Ever so rarely an album comes by that encapsulates the soul band. From a group’s particular style to even their namesake, these albums showcase all that is and has propelled them into the leaders of their genres. Seventh Son of a Seventh Son from Iron Maiden, Pelagial by The Ocean, and Panopticon by Isis are some examples of records that lay in this very small group with both fan and critical praise being forever lauded upon them. But the big daddy of them all belongs to Scenes from a Memory by Dream Theater. It is of my opinion that no other album sums up a band as perfectly as that record does. The music connected to the narrative, the ‘dream’, which is played out through the album, the ‘theater’, is executed so perfectly and passionately I had never thought no other album could ever achieve the multitude of musical accomplishments as deftly as it has done. That is until Between the Buried and Me unleashed their latest record, Coma Ecliptic, unto the masses for me to listen, absorb, and consume ravenously.
Who needs more doom metal in their life? Everybody! That’s who! Doom is awesome. Especially when there are so many bands doing cool and interesting spins on the genre. My latest peruse of Bandcamp has let me to check out Khemmis (clicked on it mainly because that cover art is freaking awesome. Do you hear that bands? Even in the digital age, kick ass cover art still sells.) A crusty layer of fuzzy stoner doom touched with spatterings of old-school hard-core, NWOBHM, and death metal will hammer your eardrums with some wonderfully chunky grooves. At times you get a tune that is like Pallbearer’s tone crossed with Iron Maiden’s bombastic leads and solos other are a Candlemass’ stomping grooves meets Madball’s beatdown vocals affair. As crazy as those cocktails sound Khemmis pull them off with ease, gusto, and panache. Regardless of the stylistic mix they are jamming with Absolution simply rocks hard front to back and is a must listen for any discerning doom fan. Listen, buy, support, share, doomstomp!!!!! Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Right off the bat, the most striking thing about Vattnet Viskar’s sophomore album would be its bright and happy cover art. If you didn’t know any better you could imagine that an album of cheery electronic music lies within it. However, Vattnet Viskar is a post-metal band and that photo isn’t as cheery as you may think it is. If you are from my generation (the 80s) or earlier you surely remember the Challenger mission. Things didn’t go very well and spaceships exploded and lives were lost. The photo in the cover art is inspired by a photo of Christa McAuliffe while she was on a ‘Vomit Comet’ training simulation about a year prior to being tragically lost in the Challenger launch disaster. It’s a quite a surreal and contrasting pic. So happy and at a peak in life only to have it all soon violently ripped away from her. But, still kind of life-affirming in a way. Now, does that cover art look a bit more metal to you?
As expected, 2015 is shaping up to be yet another stellar year for us metal fans. And with Iron Maiden, BtBaM, The Sword, Deafheaven, Avatarium, and Ghost releasing new material in the coming months, it’s only up from here. Here’s a selection of some albums I’ve enjoyed quite a bit in the past half of the year. Check ’em out and share what you’ve been digging on. Peace Love and Metal!!!!
Release Date: 7 April 2015
Length: 54 minutes
Genre: Progressive Folk Metal
Studio Albums: Olden Tales & Deathly Trails (2012)
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: 2 Jun 15
Length: 73 Minutes
Previous Albums: Walls of Jericho (1985); Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I (1987); Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II (1988); Pink Bubbles Go Ape (1991); Chameleon (1993); Master of the Rings (1994); The Time of the Oath (1996); Better Than Raw (1998); The Dark Ride (2000); Rabbit Don’t Come Easy (2003); Keeper of the Seven Keys: The Legacy (2005); Gambling With The Devil (2007); 7 Sinners (2010); Straight out of Hell (2013)
Genre: Power Metal
Location: Germany Read the rest of this entry →
Label: Century Media
Release Date: 2 Jun 15
Length: 51 Minutes
Previous Albums: This is their 14th album. See article for the rest of the albums.
There are very few bands out there that you can say started out one way, evolved into something completely different, and then came back to their roots. At least not the way England’s Paradise Lost has done it. They have come damn near full circle with their latest release, The Plague Within, which we’ll talk more as I build up to it. In the late 90s, they formed Paradise Lost…what is now considered one of the pioneers of gothic metal. Their first four albums, Lost Paradise (1990), Gothic (1991), Shades of God (1992), and Icon (1993), were heavily gothic/doom albums – not the kind of songs you would have heard on the radio…at least not in America. Most of Nick Holmes’ vocals were gritty and growling and the music was dark and brooding. Icon started the slow and eventual evolution that Paradise Lost embodied for nearly two decades. Here is a clip from their debut album, Lost Paradise.
Release Date: 19 May 2015
Length: 42 Minutes
Genre: Nu Metal
Previous Studio Albums: Coal Chamber (1997); Chamber Music (1999); Dark Days (2002)
Location: California, U.S.
I never thought I would see another reboot of Coal Chamber in any way, shape, or form especially after the way things fell apart over a decade ago. But, as quickly as Dez’s DevilDriver crumbled and went on hiatus, Coal Chamber resurfaced, got most of the original (or long-time) band members together, and have a new album out now. Dez surely didn’t waste much time. Those Coal Chamber reunion shows in Australia obviously sparked something. Anyway, Rivals is Coal Chamber’s 4th studio album and surprisingly picks things up where they left off. I say surprisingly because this album sounds like Coal Chamber never broke up at all. Read the rest of this entry →